Looking after road safety

Senior Constable Mark Hill is the region’s MAC ambassador for road safetyLocal footy players and club members around South Australia have signed up as ambassadors of the Motor Accident Commission’s new Game Changer program, including North Clare’s Mark Hill.

The Game Changer program is a partnership between MAC and the SA Country Football League.

As a Game Changer ambassador, Mark Hill will communicate to football players and supporters about making the right choices on the road.

Mark Hill shared why he agreed to become an MAC ambassador and the impact road accidents can have.

“I agreed to be an MAC ambassador due to the good work MAC has been doing with country football and country communities in general over a number of years now,” Mark said. “I have seen first-hand the devastation caused by road deaths in small communities, I feel it is an effective program that is slowly making a difference.”

Mark then shared how big the problem of drink driving is in rural areas although it has dropped in recent years.

“The rate of drink driving incidents has drastically reduced over recent years,” he said.

“I believe this is as a result of a number of factors put together, including very harsh penalties, vehicle impounding and disqualification of a drivers’ licence on the spot.

“Drink drivers continue to get caught, but not with the same frequency as they used to a few years ago, suggesting a general decline in the problem, but it still exists to a certain degree.”

Mark said the main message behind the program is for drivers in country areas to be more careful on the roads, especially with more vulnerable situations.

“I feel the main message is about country drivers being more responsible, not only for their own behaviours, but also that of their mates if they see someone else in a potentially vulnerable situation,” he said.

“Those vulnerable situations quite often begin during the night with irrational behaviour and poor decision making once the alcohol has kicked in.

“The key is to make your plan to get home prior to drinking and stick to it, including, leaving no other option such as leaving your car behind and getting a lift, or take out the temptation by leaving your keys with someone who won’t be drinking early in the night.

“One of the MAC messages encourages that sober person to retain your keys, despite drunken pleas to get them back later.”

Mark said communities like Clare and Jamestown can be more at risk of drink driving problems thanks to the social aspect of sport in smaller cities and towns.

“Yes, I believe historically it has been a sad cultural fact that some members of the country communities drive home after a day and night at the football, but this is gradually changing and is not uncommon to see many cars left at an oval or football club overnight now,” he said.

“The message is slowly getting through and this is also reflected in our road toll, which has been on the decline and is again on track to be less than 100 for the year.

“I hear people complain about revenue raising or being ‘hard-done-by’ by getting caught just slightly over the limit, but the fact is, Police can’t possibly nail the really reckless, dangerous drivers without ‘stumbling over’ a few ‘ordinary’ drivers in the process.”

Mark finished with saying communities like Clare have no excuses when it comes to drink driving and have plenty of opportunities to be responsible.

“Communities like Clare and Jamestown are spoilt to have a reliable local taxi service, giving people no excuse to drink drive. Members of smaller communities need to take responsibility too, and look after each other as in the ‘Matemorphosis’ adverts,” he said.

The MAC Game Changer message will be rolled out to 186 community football clubs throughout South Australia.

Each Game Changer ambassador has a manual containing important road safety information to help instigate road safety conversations.

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